Belgium Says Goodbye To Its Jet Trainers
Global Aviator|March 2020
On 12 January, 2020 the last three Alpha Jet trainers of the Belgian Air Force returned from France to the Beauvechain Air Base in Belgium for the last time. This brings an end to the era of the air force’s successful trainer jet and the joint co-operation with France for advanced jet pilot training. Due to the great success of these aircraft, the Alpha Jet is often called ‘the best trainer jet of Europe’.

In 1973 The Belgian Government decided to purchase 33 Dassault-Breguet/ Dornier Alpha Jet trainer aircraft to replace the ageing Lockheed T-33A and Fouga Magister trainer aircraft. With the search to find a successor for the Lockheed F-104G Starfighter fighter jet in the early 70s, the Belgian Air Force also looked for a new third-generation trainer jet. The Alpha Jet turned out to be the best choice. This training and tactical-support twin-jet tandem two-seater was the first aircraft produced jointly by Dassault Aviation and Breguet Aviation of France and Dornier Flugzeugwerke of Germany.

The final contract was signed in September 1975 and the aircraft were given the designation Alpha Jet 1B. The assembly of the 32 aircraft was carried out by SABCA at their facilities in Gosselies after which the aircraft entered service at the 7th Squadron and 11th Squadron of the Belgian Air Force. Eventually, the first Alpha Jet (AT-01) was commissioned in October 1978 and in July 1980 the last Alpha Jet (AT-33) was delivered.

In the years that followed, the Sint-Truiden/ Brustem Air Base became the home base of these trainer jets as the two squadrons were located there. The paint shop at the base was also responsible for the typical ‘Vietnam’ colour scheme of the jets. When the base was closed in 1996, the Alpha Jets moved to the Beauvechain Air Base.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM GLOBAL AVIATORView All

Edelweiss, The Sound of Music, Grossglockner And Snow, Lots And Lots Of Snow

Austria is a wonderland of mountains, green pastures, lakes and . . . mountains

10+ mins read
Global Aviator
August 2021

Zimbabwe Air Rally 2021 Part two

The following day we were up early to watch the departure air show once again, it is a large amount of razzle-dazzle to be honest.

4 mins read
Global Aviator
August 2021

Boeing 727 One Crash Per 2 30 6300 Flying Hours

The Boeing 727 is a narrow-body airliner. The first 727-100 rolled out 27 November, 1962, first flew on 9 February, 1963, and entered service with Eastern on 1 February, 1964.

6 mins read
Global Aviator
August 2021

Taking Flight On Another World

The Mars Helicopter, Ingenuity, is a technology demonstration model to test powered, controlled flight on another world for the first time. It hitched a ride to Mars on the Perseverance rover. Once the rover reached a suitable "airfield" location, it released Ingenuity to the surface so it could perform a series of test flights over a 30-Martian-day experimental window.

7 mins read
Global Aviator
August 2021

Thales Completes Successful First Flight Of New UAS With Range Capabilities Of Over 100 Km

• With a hybrid propulsion system for optimum safety, endurance and discretion, Thales's UAS 100 long-range unmanned air system for civil, government and military users will be able to operate at ranges of more than 100 km. • UAS 100 combines world-class flight safety performance with the compact design required for unmanned air systems, and complies with future European regulations for drone flights over populated areas. • The system will meet the requirements of a broad range of missions, including infrastructure inspection, coastal surveillance, border surveillance, event security, search-and-rescue and military operations.

2 mins read
Global Aviator
August 2021

Dutch Squadron Finalises F-16 Operations

The Royal Netherlands Air Force 322 squadron based at Leeuwarden air force base terminated its operations on the F-16 “Fighting Falcon” early July (2021). With the gradual ongoing new deliveries of its successor, the Lockheed Boeing F-35A “Lightning II”, it was time for the squadron to focus only on the embedding of the new jet in the unit.

3 mins read
Global Aviator
August 2021

Double Ended Project: Where Is It Now

Traditionally, bush and STOL aircraft have been little more than modified certified trainers, with engine and prop upgrades, or the addition of fatter tyres. However there have been attempts to improve the safety aspect of this type of flying.

2 mins read
Global Aviator
August 2021

Dyke Delta Lookalike Fighter Kit Plane

The Dyke JD-2 Delta is an American homebuilt aircraft designed in the United States in the 1960s and marketed for amateur construction. It is a monoplane with retractable tricycle undercarriage and seating for four.

2 mins read
Global Aviator
August 2021

Pratt & Whitney Canada Advances Sustainable Hybrid-Electric Propulsion Technology, Contributing to Canada's Green Recovery Plan

Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC), plans to advance its hybridelectric propulsion technology and flight demonstrator programme as part of a $163M CAD investment, supported by the governments of Canada and Quebec.

3 mins read
Global Aviator
August 2021

Airbus showcases the A350-1000 for the first time in Russia at the MAKS 2021 International Aerospace Show

Airbus demonstrated its latest technological innovations and projects implemented in Russia at the International Aerospace Show which took place in Zhukovsky from 20 to 25 July.

2 mins read
Global Aviator
August 2021